Does anyone else send Valentines cards to their children from their dogs? No? Just me then. This year I didn't, because L told me not to after last year's card. It's weird, he said, getting a valentine's card from your dog is just weird. Today I asked him, ultra casual like: so, don't any of your friends get Valentines from their animals then? He gave me a withering look, stuffed a freshly baked jam tart into his mouth and said round the crumbs No one else's mum is as weird as you are, before grinning and wandering off. I get birthday presents from the wildlife in the garden.
We walked early this morning, the hounds and I. I'm having a day off running. I won't bore you with the latest shoe developments, mainly because I'm bored of them myself. The air was cold and the woods and fields were wreathed in mist. It was very beautiful, although I was a bit grumpy when we met three other people out walking their dogs. I go early in order to avoid other people. I saw the farm manager too, but he doesn't count seen as how he blends quietly with the land. He was on his mobile and we exchanged a wave as I strode by, Ted with poo all over one side of his face after an illegal rolling episode.
By the time I got home the fog had lifted and the day has been proper spring ever since. Birds singing, sun shining, blue skies. I checked the pond for newts after shampooing Ted, but only saw honey bees drinking water off the moss round the edges which acts like a sponge. As I was looking for newts, a bright green male siskin landed on a branch beside me and spent a good few minutes looking at me. I was just starting to wonder whether he was ever going to go when he decided he'd looked long enough and flew over to the sunflower hearts. Poppy was busy tracking voles in the long grass while Ted lay in the sun. Two crows chased a jackdaw over the house and garden before one landed in the oak and cawed loudly, indignant about the temerity of the jackdaw coming too close, but in past years it is the jackdaws who have nested in the chimney. We had one fall down it one year and had to remove the old victorian plate to get the poor thing out. Chaffinches are singing everywhere loudly at the moment, and there is a proper dawn chorus now a little before seven. Nesting will start soon and in preparation, we took all the bird houses down last weekend, cleaned them, and fixed new woodpecker-proof metal plates to the entrance holes, different sizes for different species. The bluetit ones are tiny! I hope they work., because last year's GSW raid was upsetting to see and hear. I checked the stream by the house for toads today too, because they should be appearing any day now, but I didn't find any. Usually, I wake up in the night and hear them singing on the patio, a soft, cooing sound that always makes me smile. And as if in final proof that spring is coming, I noticed the female catkins are out on the hazel- small clumps of bright pink punk-rocker hair on the bud ends. There'll be a frost again tomorrow morning I'm sure, but today has been a timely reminder that spring is coming.
Hope you're all well?